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31 Mar 2014

When is the right time - 5 years later and I'm hurting more than ever
Hi CS, It has been many years since I visited you here on Health 24 - I have missed you! I have a problem that I need to be set straight. As always I trust in your 100% honesty and professional opinion. My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years and since Jan this year I've started resenting him because he's very scared to commit to marriage and a future with me. He's told me numerous times that he's not looking to settle down just yet. Respectfully I have explained to him that I don't want to get hitched right this minute, but after 5 years I would like to have this discussion with him re our future as I'm 32 and need to know where we are going. Long story short I've noticed that we don't really communicate. I've started comparing him to my other male friends and he's actually quite an introvert. He lacks life skills and I've discussed the option of seeing a therapist but he's 'too busy' with his new job. Our sex life is also non existent and while most people would caution me re him having affair, I really don't think he's capable. I think it's a case of "life is just too busy to make the effort" and I believe he has a low sex drive although he's told me otherwise. He says he 'tries' but unless I'm blind or stupid I just don't see it. It's like we speak different languages and I'm so depressed, I just cry and cry. This weekend we celebrate our 5th year of dating. I told him I would like to do something and he's often told me I don't allow him to be the leader which I accept. He tells me that "this shouldn't be so much effort" and I'm standing scratching my head wondering how relationships aren't an effort. He's had one girlfriend in his early twenties and now has me. I've got so many dreams and goals ahead of me Doc. I'm a carefree, risk taking spirit and a huge dreamer. If we're having the conversation I'm happy, I don't expect my partner to make all my life dreams come true. This morning I was in tears again, I've pulled away in a big way and I'm so so resentful. He told me we would chat about plans to celebrate our anniversary this weekend and we haven't. It's almost like he doesn't care. Doesn't have the tools to care. Doesn't prioritize me. Doesn't appreciate me. He's said that he does want a family and to commit but now I just think he's telling me what I want to hear. I've even told him I'm moving out, and he got very upset saying that he doesn't know why. Nothing has changed. No efforts made on his part either. Do I leave?
Answer 1,375 views

01 Apr 2014

Gosh, Wings !  It surey has been a long time --- welcome back, and I'm pleased we're both still extant !
Many of those, often but not always men, who hesitate to "commit" are scared of some aspect of what that would mean to them ( interesting, he's remained with you for 5 years, while ostensibly avoiding "committment"  ) --- its as though its the official and public degree of committment that a marriage would imply, whih he balks at,  rather than actually remaining together. Its also a sort of policy decision they themselves have often not unpacked or examined at all.  What does "commit" mean to him ? When he says or thinks "not yet" what is it he is waiting for ? What could happen that would enable him to feel, :"OK, Now" ? What does he feel he would lose by committing to a permanent relationship, even in the future ?
Couples counselling would help, if he could see it as enabling each of you to clarify what you want and how you might achieve it,  rather than seeing it as an attempt to force him to commit, to glue you together.  It is indeed often as though you do speak different languages,  and counselling can help you develop also a shared language in which you can work together more efficiently.
As is often the case, too, I suspect he finds the present arrangement suits him excellently, so why would he want to change it ?  He gets continuing access to a really nice person he reall likes ( or he'd have left long ago ) but without making any binding promises himself.
Maybe he's as commited as he is capable of being ? Maybe he's not  withholding something he has which you wan, but its something he doesnt have and is too scared to try and construct within himself ?
Dont, after all you have ivested here,  just pull out, although its obviousl highly frustraing for you ; but maybe make  possible whtdrawal conditional upon his sincerely agreeing to join you in a series of sessions of couples counselling, to see what could be improved for BOTH of you.

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